Many viruses reprogram ribosomes to produce two different proteins from two different reading frames. So-called - frameshifting often involves pairwise alignment of two adjacent tRNAs at a 'slippery' sequence in the ribosomal A and P sites such that an overlapping codon is shifted upstream by one base relative to the zero frame. In the majority of cases, an RNA pseudoknot located downstream stimulates this type of frameshift. Crystal structures of the frameshifting RNA pseudoknot from Beet Western Yellow Virus (BWYV) have provided a detailed picture of the tertiary interactions stabilizing this folding motif, including a minor-groove triplex and quadruple-base interactions. The structure determined at atomic resolution revealed the locations of several magnesium ions and provided insights into the role of structured water stabilizing the RNA. Systematic in vitro and in vivo mutational analyses based on the structural results revealed specific tertiary interactions and regions in the pseudoknot that drastically change frameshifting efficiency. Here, we summarize recent advances in our understanding of pseudoknot-mediated ribosomal frameshifting on the basis of the insights gained from structural and functional studies of the RNA pseudoknot from BWYV.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Drug Discovery
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry